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As I started reading John 6 & 7 a few key quotes from Jesus recorded in the end of John 5 were still ringing in my ears:
“For I seek NOT to please myself but him who sent me.” (John 5:30)
“I do not accept praise from men…How can you believe if you accept praise from one another, yet make no effort to obtain the praise that comes from the only God.” (John 5:41, 44)
Here Jesus Christ, the Son of God and Son of Man, was saying quite clearly and repetitively – it’s not about me. He did not seek to please himself or earn the praises of men – his goal was only and always to please God and hear the praises of his Heavenly Father.
Chapter 6 begins with this same Jesus feeding the famished five thousand with five small barley loaves and two small fish – and ending up with twelve baskets of left-overs. As the one primarily responsible for feeding my family of 5 three times a day, I have always been greatly impressed with this miracle! And, he follows it up with walking on the water! There is no doubt that this Jesus has just earned some serious bragging rights.
Instead, he turns it into a teachable moment and offers himself as the bread of life – the bread and body that must be broken for others to live. This is what he offers to the world not because he is the one who dreamed it up, and not because he was looking forward to it, and not because he desired it – but because he knew he came, “Not to do MY (Jesus’) will but to do the will of him who sent me.” (John 6:38).
In Chapter 7 he continues, “My teaching is not my own. It comes from him who sent me.” (7:16) and “I am not here on my own, but he who sent me is true.” (7:28). While some wanted to kill him, others wanted to make him king. And yet – none of that really mattered to Jesus. He was teaching God’s Word and living – and later dying – God’s Will. His one-track mind and life was centered on what his Daddy desired and had planned from the beginning of the world.
Two things seem clear.
First, Jesus was definitely NOT claiming to be God, nor did he desire to be considered as God in any way. His repeated use of, “not me/mine…but He/His” were pointing out the differences – two beings, even though their purposes would be the same – at Jesus’ choosing. Today, would I hold any credibility if I stated, “I do not seek to please myself, but only what I want?” Or, if I said, “My teaching is not my own but it comes from me”, would people listen to me for long? Over and over again, Jesus is drawing some pretty clear lines between His Father God and himself. Two beings, united in purpose – because that is what Jesus chose – to follow His Father and not himself.
Second, how must I change my focus, my goals and my everyday life so that I, along with Jesus, can confidently say, “Not my will, but His be done,” “My teaching is not my own, but God’s.” “I seek not to please myself, but my Heavenly Father.” No doubt the Son of God set an example for us to follow. It is a path that requires laying aside all selfishness and pride, as well as false teaching. It is not an easy road. But when we live our life to please God our Father, just as Jesus did, we won’t be disappointed in the end!
(Photo Credit: https://dailyverses.net/john/6/35)